Divorce

New Orleans Divorce Lawyers

Zealous divorce representation in New Orleans, Slidell, and throughout Louisiana

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The image of divorce as a battle is an old one, but for some couples it is an accurate one, too. Even amicable couples can feel overwhelmed, anxious, and – yes – angry about a divorce. When it comes to matters of the heart, people can behave irrationally, and that can create tension for everyone.

We are here to ease that tension and protect your best interests. The Law Office of James A. Graham has been helping folks navigate the waters of divorce for more than a decade. Our New Orleans divorce attorneys are your advocates at every stage, fighting to protect you, your family, and your future. Whether you are in the beginning stages of the divorce process or need assistance modifying an existing order, we are here to help. Contact us in New Orleans or Slidell today to get started.

What does a New Orleans divorce attorney do?

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Legally, you never have to hire a lawyer – but when it comes to divorce and family law matters, it is wise to have experienced counsel on your side. A marriage is, at its core, a contract; breaking that contract (willingly or unwillingly) can have long-term ripple effects throughout your entire life. Having a New Orleans divorce attorney on your side can help ensure that you are in the best possible position when you begin your new life.

The Law Office of James A. Graham offers honest counsel and aggressive strategies designed to protect your interests when it comes to:

  • Mediation. Louisiana doesn’t require divorce mediation, but courts may require it in certain cases. For couples who are looking to avoid a fight, or who are largely in agreement about how they wish to proceed with their divorce, mediation can offer a less expensive and less contentious way forward.
  • Property Division. Louisiana law generally defines all assets and debts acquired during the marriage to be the shared community property of both spouses. (Exceptions may apply, depending on your circumstances.) The courts work to ensure that both spouses receive assets acquired during the marriage of equal value. We can assist with the division of your properties and accounts as well as retirement accounts and pensions.
  • Spousal Support. Spousal support is supposed to ensure that a spouse with fewer opportunities for financial security is not ruined by a divorce. Whether you are requesting support or paying it, we are here to ensure that payments are fair and just.
  • Prenuptial Agreements. Prenuptial agreements are one of the best tools couples have to protect themselves, their children, and their businesses. We can help you draft such an agreement before or after you are married (post-nuptial agreement). We can also challenge an existing prenup that should be nullified or voided.
  • Order Modification and Enforcement. If you already have an existing order in place, but your circumstances have changed substantially, you can petition to modify your order. If your ex is failing to abide by the existing order, we can help you enforce it.
  • Legal Name Changes. Once your divorce is finalized, you may choose to go back to your maiden name – or to change it all together for a fresh start. We can help you with this process.

Our New Orleans divorce attorneys are also prepared to assist business owners, LGBTQ+ individuals and members of the US military, whose unique needs must be addressed. No matter what your concerns are, we are ready and able to help.

Can you help me protect my children?

The Law Office of James A. Graham provides a wide range of family law services. Contact us if you need assistance with:

  • Child Custody
  • Child Support
  • Child Relocation
  • Intrafamily Adoption
  • Paternity Issues

In 2019, Louisiana was #5 in the country for the rate of women murdered by men. We understand that domestic violence is prevalent here, and that adult and child victims of abuse often live in fear of their lives. If you are a victim of domestic violence, we offer safe and secure locations in which to discuss your needs with a male or female advocate and will fight to protect you and your children.

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What are the grounds for divorce in Louisiana?

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What are the grounds for divorce in Louisiana

“Grounds” for divorce are reasons for divorce. In Louisiana, you can file on fault or no-fault grounds. There are four grounds for fault-based divorce:

  1. The other spouse has committed adultery.
  2. The other spouse has committed a felony and has been sentenced to death or imprisonment at hard labor.
  3. During the marriage, the other spouse physically or sexually abused the spouse seeking divorce or a child of one of the spouses, regardless of whether the other spouse was prosecuted for the act of abuse.
  4. After a contradictory hearing or consent decree, a protective order or an injunction was issued during the marriage, in accordance with law, against the other spouse to protect the spouse seeking the divorce or a child of one of the spouses from abuse.

If none of these reasons apply, or if you choose not to cite grounds, you can file for a no-fault divorce. You may petition the court to begin the divorce process at any time, however you must live apart for 180 days if you don’t have minor children, or 365 days if you do have minor children, in order to obtain a no-fault divorce.

Why covenant marriages are different

Louisiana is one of only three states which offer covenant marriages, which can make divorce more challenging. Per the Louisiana Department of Health, there are two stipulations which apply only to couples with this type of marriage who are now seeking a divorce:

  1. “The couple legally agrees to seek marital counseling if problems develop during the marriage; and
  2. The couple can seek a divorce or legal separation for limited reasons only.”

If you entered into a covenant marriage and are seeking a divorce in New Orleans, it is in your best interest to seek legal counsel. There are specific grounds for covenant divorce and specific timelines. The Law Office of James A. Graham can help.

Where do I file for divorce in New Orleans?

To file for divorce in New Orleans (or in any parish) either you or your spouse must have lived in Louisiana for at least six months. Or, if one of you has a home of record here, you may be able to file sooner.

However, exceptions may apply if you are stationed at one of the many military bases in the state, and/or if you or your spouse is currently deployed. Contact us in New Orleans or Slidell to learn more about your rights and your options if you or your spouse is a member of the US armed forces or the Louisiana National Guard.

Will I have to go to trial for my divorce in New Orleans?

Family court is different from other types of civil or criminal courts. When we talk about litigation, we don’t mean going through the traditional type of “trial,” where a jury of your peers hears your case. Instead, you, your spouse, your attorneys, and a judge will meet for what is typically called a “bench trial.”

If you and your spouse reach an agreement beforehand, and you are both happy (or at least satisfied enough) to move forward with the agreement, then your case is considered “uncontested,” and the judge will typically sign off on what is in the agreement. Note that he or she can actually refuse your agreement as presented if he or she feels the outcomes is too heavily weighted in one spouse’s favor.

If you and your spouse cannot agree, then the judge will make a ruling based on the evidence presented by both sets of attorneys. This is why it is in your best interest to reach an agreement beforehand; otherwise, a judge – a total stranger – will be the person deciding where your children live, how your assets are divided, and what types of support you may receive or be forced to pay.

Do you have a divorce lawyer near me?

The Law Office of James A. Graham has two office locations in South Louisiana:

For clients who are unable to travel, we can schedule phone or video conferences when needed.

Fighting for families in New Orleans and Slidell

Divorce can be difficult, but choosing the right attorney shouldn’t be. The Law Office of James A. Graham is here to help. To schedule a consultation with a divorce lawyer in New Orleans or Slidell, please call 504-777-3625 or fill out our contact form.